News in brief January 26 2017

Jackson extends deadline

The deadline for written submissions to Lord Justice Jackson’s (pictured) review of fixed recoverable costs has been further extended by one week to Monday 30 January. He said the further extension “follows several requests from key stakeholders for a small extension to finalise their responses”. There will not be any further extension.


On the hunt for new costs judge

The Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) has launched a competition to recruit a new judge of the Senior Courts Costs Office (SCCO). Only solicitors and barristers can apply – the JAC says specifically that ACL members will not be eligible unless they are also qualified as a barrister or solicitor with at least five years’ post-qualification experience.

The post pays £107,000 plus London weighting and it is open for a job share on a 50:50 or 60:40 basis to make one full-time equivalent.


Costs information provided for mediation “not confidential”

Costs information provided for the purposes of a confidential mediation was “pure fact” and could later be used in the assessment of costs, according to a ruling by Master Haworth in the SCCO.

A key issue in Savings Advice Ltd & Anor v EDF Energy Customers PLC [2017] EWHC B1 (Costs) was the after-the-event insurance premium and, in his witness statements to the court about how the premiums were calculated, the insurer used information that has been supplied by the defendant for the purpose of an earlier, unsuccessful, mediation, and in ‘without prejudice’ emails.

Ruling against the defendant’s argument that this information should not be admissible, Master Haworth said the figures were a matter of pure fact: “It seems to me that ‘without prejudice privilege’ exists to protect the disclosure of admissions or concessions made in negotiations, not to protect statements of pure fact…

“It is important to separate out the obligation of confidence from privilege. If the obligation of confidence is broken, it may give rise to a remedy in other proceedings. However, in my judgment, it cannot be used to suppress relevant information in an assessment relating to the costs of the substantive claim…

“The whole purpose of the mediation was to achieve a settlement. In those circumstances, any costs information given in mediation is and must be admissible in order to work out the consequence of any subsequent settlement. In that sense, in my judgment, costs information in the form of statements of facts can be separated out from documents or other information that comes into the domain of either party for the purposes of negotiating a settlement of the substantive claim.”


This post was posted in ACL e-Bulletin

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Costs News
Published date
27 Jan 2017

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